We’ve mentioned the “regional Eurostars” before – trains that were planned to run from stations on the West Coast Main Line, on to HS1, through the Channel Tunnel and then onto the continent. These days we are promised HS2 trains running from stations on the HS2 route on to HS1, through the Channel Tunnel and then onto the continent.
The HS1 trains have hit the news again, with an article in the Independent.
What it says is that seven “regional eurostars” were built at a cost of £180,000 million, but they are used in France, to deal with shortfalls in French rolling stock.
However the Independent tells us:
“The Department for Transport spent “between £300,000 and £400,000 last year” on mothballed facilities for the aborted Regional Eurostar project that would have provided a direct link between provincial cities and the Continent….A depot built in Manchester to maintain the trains remains the responsibility of London & Continental Railways, a company that is wholly owned by the Department for Transport. It has lain largely unused since it was built in the early 1990s and London & Continental has to pay for its upkeep, though there has been no indication that it will ever be required for its original purpose.”
So 13 years after a glossy brochure promised direct trains from Manchester to Paris when the Channel Tunnel opened, the trains exist, the depot exists (and costs the taxpayer real money) but the service is still non-existant…